Every matchday programme features an exclusive feature with one of our stars of the future. In a recent edition, young defender Ryan Alebiosu discussed becoming more confident, becoming a wing back, Kevin Betsy's impact and more.
This season has been one of the most important of my career so far.
Last season was a bit up and down with the under-23s and on reflection, I wasn’t performing as well as I think I could have, but this year I feel like I’ve been improving a lot and developed in lots of different areas. Obviously, there’s still a lot to improve on, but I feel like my confidence is so much higher and I’m involved in play more than ever before, and that’s backed up by my assist numbers too. Even when training with the first team I feel more confident, so it’s been good to see that progress and now I only want to keep it going.
Individually and as a team it wasn’t good enough last season. We were losing a lot of games, we were in the bottom half of the table and it was affecting us a lot mentally. Our confidence went down and it was difficult to build it back up, both individually and as a team.
When this season came around, I just wanted to start fresh and improve and show a different me. I just wanted to get better and better and do more than what I did last season.
I think the biggest different has been the fact I’m now believing in myself in the final third, because obviously last season I was a bit hesitant, but this season I’m thinking, ‘Let me just go at the players’ and ‘Let me just put balls in the box’ and just keep working it and working it and keep doing it. I just have to believe that I can beat my man and that I can go into a game and come out with an assist and come out with a goal, and that’s what I need to do every game.
Last season I was playing just as a right-back, so a little bit more defensive. This season under Kevin Betsy, I’m playing as a wing-back so I’m higher up the pitch and I’m responsible for providing a lot of width in the team.
Kevin told us he wanted to play this system as soon as he arrived and straight away I thought that the wing-back role could be perfect for me. We aren’t really playing with wingers at the moment, so there’s a lot of pressure on me to get up and down the wing and contribute at both ends of the pitch. There’s been a lot of demands on my fitness levels.
Kevin has helped me a lot since joining as head coach, he’s put a lot of confidence in all of us, especially in me, and he’s helped me believe in myself both technically and defensively. The way we play, we like to keep the ball. Kevin likes us to have more possession because if we have more possession, we’re more likely to win the game. When we lose it, we counter quick to get the ball back and then we regain and keep the ball and possession again. When we’re higher up the pitch we start doing our stuff and start attacking, but all while being patient.
I’ve also been putting in some more extra work on my one-on-one defending and heading this season, because who knows, I could be going out on loan and wherever I go, there could be more to the game than just being good on the ball.
I want to make sure I’m ready for the physical challenges of senior football, so that I show the club what I can do and hopefully one day get my chance in the first team. That’s my dream.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.